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Home Winners > Winners 2018 > Champagne NV & VINTAGE

Winner Details

Champagne: NV & VINTAGE

2018  GOLD: 5             SILVER: 13       BRONZE: 11     COMMENDED: 20
2017  GOLD: 8             SILVER: 15       BRONZE: 2       COMMENDED: 17

This was not a particularly good year for Champagne. Five was the smallest number of Golds for more than three years and the atypically large number of Bronzes and Commendeds (our most ever here) tells you what our tasters thought about much of what they were tasting.

The words ‘solid’ and ‘reliable’ turned up time and time again, ‘exciting’ less so, and there was a feeling that this is a style that’s being sold out of duty rather than out of any real love on the part of the restaurants. Well done to Lanson and Champagne Palmer, though – both picked up Golds for the second (and in Palmer’s case third) year on the trot.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘At their best the non-vintages were phenomenal – elegant and complex. For NV we weren’t necessarily looking for extra complexity, although we did find that in some of the wines here.’ Manuel Ribeiro, The Bybrook at The Manor House Hotel

‘Some of the [non-vintage] prices were a bit high. £25 is probably what you want, especially for restaurants.’ Masahito Suzuki, The Social Company

‘The ultra dry champagnes were very good, but it’s not a crowd-pleasing style.’ Charlie Young, Vinoteca

‘Good value for money here, particularly around the entry level and middle price points. There was varying use of reserve wines, with some using more reserve wine for more complexity. Champagne houses are moving towards that overall, and it’s a good thing.’ Annette Scarfe MW, team leader

‘Our team were more impressed with the lower price points than the upper end, with some fantastic prices, great balance and great textures.’ Sue Jones, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

Award winners

Found 36 wines

Sparkling: Champagne – NV & Vintage

Palmer & Co, Blanc de Blancs NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

A ‘very gastronomic’ style, said Manuel Ribeiro of The Bybrook at The Manor House Hotel of this Gold-winning champagne, finding an ‘elegant, delicate nose with notes of honey, candied lemon and touches of marine flavours, clean on the palate with very fine bubbles’. This had, for Three Chimneys Restaurant’s Petri Pentikainen, ‘a very herbal nose with thyme and grass notes, with minerality on the palate that lingers on the long finish’, leading to the suggestion that this be served with ‘poached langoustine with a herb salad’.

£33.70 Bibendum

Castelnau, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

Team leader Martin Lam noted that this Gold-worthy champagne had ‘quite developed autolysis on a more old school nose’, going on to find a ‘rich palate, mouthfilling and quite serious yet with plenty of freshness’, while Sue Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn picked up on its ‘richness of texture, developed background and luscious stone fruit’. ‘Aged notes and a broad, textured palate’ made this perfect, according to Tate Catering’s Hamish Anderson, for roast chicken.

£22.13 Castelnau Wine Agencies

Canard-Duchêne, Cuvée Charles VII, Blanc de Blancs, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

‘Bright citrus notes and lovely elegance’ were just some of the characteristics that earned this blanc de blancs the Gold, according to team leader Laura Rhys MS, who found it ‘autolytic but fresh, with lemon, mandarin and camomile notes’. For team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW this led to a ‘complex palate, with spring flowers, golden fruits, rhubarb and creamy undertones with a punch of acid – long, supple and smooth’.

£39.99 Champagnes & Châteaux

Lanson, Père et Fils, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Gold medal winner

‘Wonderful, and bursting with energy,’ said Michael Moore of The London Cookhouse, echoing the appreciation of his fellow judges for this champagne. Royal Automobile Club’s Davide Dall’Amico enjoyed the contrast between a ‘nose of green apple with sweet spices and brioche notes’ and a ‘palate that’s more nutty and spicy, quite smooth with tart apple acidity to sustain the finish’. A combination that led team leader Laura Rhys MS to suggest that this would be perfect with a clam risotto.

£26.30 Bibendum , Enotria&Coe, Matthew Clark

Ernest Remy, Grand Cru, Blanc de Noirs, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

‘Stone fruits, peachy grapefruit and ginger biscuit on the nose, and on the palate it’s got a really good balance and finish,’ began The Don’s Carlos Ferreira, adding that it would be ‘good to have with cheeses’. ‘Well-balanced dosage with good length,’ confirmed team leader Annette Scarfe MW.

£23.86 Ester Wines

Charles Heidsieck, Brut Réserve NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Sue Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn enjoyed this champagne’s ‘fresh and crisp, lovely development and long-lasting fruits with creamy softness and longevity’, and Davide Dall’Amico of Royal Automobile Club highlighted ‘green apple, toast, nuts and cheese rind with some raspberry fruit to complete the bouquet’.

£31.46 Liberty Wines

Taittinger, Folies de la Marquetterie, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Drawn in by the ‘fine brioche and vanilla aromas’, team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW described a ‘vibrant lift of bubbles matched by vivid acidity, a refreshing interplay on the pure palate with a savoury, salty sign-off’.

£38.09 Hatch Mansfield

Devaux, Ultra D NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Markus Dilger of Dilger Sommelier Selection enjoyed this champagne’s ‘citrus fruit, green apple and floral aromas, and refreshing, fine acidity’, finding the palate ‘smooth and elegantly mousseux with a long finish’.

£32.45 Liberty Wines

Bernard Remy, Carte Blanche, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

A ‘medium intensity, classic nose showing good integration of ripened fruit on the palate, with spicy lemon zest and brioche character, and pleasingly vibrant spicy length’, said Tatiana Mann of The Vine Eno Gastro Pub.

£20.98 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Collet, Art Deco, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Team leader Martin Lam found ‘dark brioche and spices on the nose, with well-balanced freshness and complexity’, adding that it was a ‘more serious NV which warrants the price’, while Royal Automobile Club’s Davide Dall’Amico noted its ‘soft perlage texture with spices, toasted nuts and marzipan’.

£28.22 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Lanson, Extra Age, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

A ‘very complex nose’ revealed ‘red berries, brioche, toast, cheese rind, spices and minerality’, for Royal Automobile Club’s Davide Dall’Amico, moving on to a ‘palate that shows all of those flavours with some oxidised hints of baked apple, and a smooth and elegant perlage’. ‘Evolved, complex and serious, with such an aromatic, developed palate, for food only,’ added team leader Martin Lam.

£41.50 Bibendum , Matthew Clark, Venus Wine & Spirit Merchants

Alexandre Bonnet, Noir, Extra Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Markus Dilger of Dilger Sommelier Selection picked up on ‘brioche, yellow apple, citrus, pear and floral aromas with fine acidity, good length and mousse’, while Coq d’Argent’s Lazaros Engonopoulos noted a subtle side of ‘very gentle, fresh, elegant structure, shy nose but expressive palate’.

£26.69 Matthew Clark

Montaudon, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Noting this champagne’s ‘persistent foam’, Street XO’s Raphael Thierry enjoyed its ‘creamy, very fresh and lively structure’, describing it as ‘not very complex but straight to the point’, while Manuel Ribeiro of The Bybrook at The Manor House Hotel picked up a ‘complex nose with notes of cooked citrus and honey with biscuit’.

£22.35 Matthew Clark

Lallier, Grand Réserve, Grand Cru, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Team leader Jade Koch described a ‘lactic, biscuity nose, honeyed and fresh’, and liked its ‘juicy, mouthwatering palate of peach and apples with pretty minerality that opens up and carries through to the finish’.

£19.77 Boutinot

Gobillard, Tradition, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Silver medal winner

Tatiana Mann of The Vine Eno Gastro Pub found ‘restrained, low-intensity aromas but a very refreshing, sea-breeze style, needing a little time to open up but revealing pleasant spicy character and chalky mineral length’.

£26.63 Enotria&Coe

Serge Mathieu, Prestige, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Bruised apple nose with fresh acidity,’ began team leader Annette Scarfe MW, who enjoyed its ‘delicate autolytic notes of digestive biscuit with a lemon fruit core, and a good, elegant style’.

£25.23 Bibendum

Castelnau, Brut Réserve NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

The Don’s Carlos Ferreira found the nose ‘toasty, with citrus fruits and red apple, smooth and elegant on the palate with a buttery, oily aftertaste’, while team leader Annette Scarfe MW summed it up as a ‘more fruity style with a higher dosage’.

£22.79 Castelnau Wine Agencies

Taittinger, Brut Réserve NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

Hakkasan’s Olivier Gasselin felt its ‘spicy, zesty grapefruit, lily flowers and crunchy grape notes with a slight austerity’ made this ‘fine for quaffing’, while team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW found ‘yeasty, leesy notes of vanilla, punchy spritz and a mid-weight palate, slightly stony’.

£26.78 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Devaux, Cuvée D NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

Masahito Suzuki of The Social Company noted a ‘delicate intensity of chalky citrus aromas, fine entry with creamy bubbles and mineral touches’, while Hakkasan’s Olivier Gasselin found it ‘quite dense, concentrated and multi-layered, with notes of gingerbread and liquorice’.

£29.50 Liberty Wines

Gremillet, Comtesse de Genlis, Cuvée Félicité, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

Sue Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn enjoyed the ‘refreshing nose, clean and fresh with brioche notes coming through, followed by rich flavours of quince and apples on a long-lasting palate, and good size bubbles without being “fizzy”’.

£19.63 Champagne Gremillet

Lelarge-Pugeot, Les Meuniers de Clémence, Extra Brut NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

The Vine Eno Gastro Pub’s Tatiana Mann was very taken with the ‘medium intensity, complex nose showing good integration of fruit, spice and autolytic evolution’ of this champagne, adding that the palate was ‘young, but very long and complex, with structure and depth for a long life’.

£39.69 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Canard-Duchêne, Parcelle 181, Extra Brut NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Complex and clean nose of honeyed citrus and sweet spices, with a very elegant and creamy mousse,’ began Manuel Ribeiro of The Bybrook at The Manor House Hotel, noting a ‘medium-length finish with a touch of toast and spice’.

£38.99 Champagnes & Châteaux

Taittinger, Nocturne, Sec NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

Yohann Pinol of Wiltons was taken with the ‘lovely honeysuckle aromas, peach and acacia, fine bubbles and elegant balance with a silky texture, long finish and subtle raspberry/peachy sweetness’, while Markus Dilger of Dilger Sommelier Selection also noted ‘yellow apple and citrus, peas and nutty almond notes’.

£31.63 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Drappier, Sans Ajout de Soufre, Brut Nature NV, Champagne, France

Bronze medal winner

‘Expressive and complex, citrus with bready yeast aromas and white flowers, nice structure and balance with a long finish and ageing potential,’ said an impressed Lazaros Engonopoulos of Coq d’Argent, with Vinoteca’s Charlie Young also noting ‘fresh, stony aromas with an attractive perfume lift, and lovely pure white fruit’.

£32.13 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Ayala, Brut Nature NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

Maison Mumm, GH Mumm, Cordon Rouge NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£38.62 Matthew Clark

Palmer & Co, Brut Réserve NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

£24.77 Bibendum

Duménil, Premier Cru, Réserve, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

Devaux, Grande Réserve NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

£24.50 Liberty Wines

Gremillet, Sélection, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

Gremillet, Blanc de Blancs, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

Collet, Brut NV, Champagne , France

Commended medal winner

Alexandre Bonnet, Blanc de Noirs, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£23.70 Matthew Clark

Baron de Villeboerg, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£18.05 Bibendum

Taittinger, Prélude, Grands Crus, Brut NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

£33.97 Hatch Mansfield

Drappier, Zéro Dosage, Brut Nature NV, Champagne, France

Commended medal winner

 

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